California prison inmates end hunger strike

September 6, 2013

After two months, Californian prison inmates have ended their hunger strike.

The strike began in July to protest conditions in state prisons, specifically the use of isolation cells, also known as SHUs for security housing units. The strike focused in particular on conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County.

Last month, a federal judge approved state officials’ request to forcibly feed any striker who was at risk of death or serious harm, prompting outrage from many groups supporting the protesting. State prison officials say they didn’t have to force-feed any inmates.

Yesterday, the remaining 100 strikers resumed eating….40 of whom had participated from the beginning.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The goal of the hunger strikers and a federal court suit by inmates at Pelican Bay in Del Norte County was to limit periods of confinement in the SHU, improve conditions and end the state’s insistence on “debriefing,” or informing on other prisoners, to win release from the units.

Prison officials said they started a new program last fall of case-by-case review of SHU inmates and have agreed to return hundreds of them to the general prison population, but have not announced any changes in their policies since the hunger strike began.

Still, Anne Weills, a lawyer for the inmates, said Thursday the striking prisoners “feel they have won a significant victory.”



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